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Giving manufactures the benefit of the doubt

aslan7

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I just concluded a big public fracas on Audiogon concerning Exogal's no longer supplying the device applications for which the Comet/Ion combo was designed. The CEO refused to answer me satisfactorily so I took it public. Even though I successfully refuted his many misrepresentations with material from his own website and published reviews in which he was quoted, but a lot of readers were clearly sympathetic to him. This surprising sympathy for the manufacturer seems to be something peculiar to the audio industry. Had this guy been making washing machines and such appliances he would have been in big trouble.

This experience led me to further speculate about why the audio industry isn't subject to more federal regulation, especially in the area of false and misleading advertising. For example, we have cable manufacturers making the most extravagant claims about their products that are pure, unprovable hype. I was shocked to see some of the reviews here that debunk unscientific claims by certain manufacturers. Even certain famous products are exposed to be substandard.

I suppose audiophiles are an especially credulous consumer group that is preyed upon by unscrupulous manufacturers. Audiogon is a great and informative site with lots of good people but many of them buy into audio voodoo. Here people seem to respect science and are skeptics. Anyhow, I don't understand why manufacturers of audio equipment get away with blatant misrepresentation as they are in every other business endeavor I can think of. Their customer base evidently likes it and supports them.
 

JeffS7444

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IMO, it's not a good sign when the manufacturer releases a video representing typical DAC output as a connect-the-dots waveform in need of "sanding down" as it seems they have a fundamental lack of understanding of how things actually work.

Wonky science aside, sorry to hear about your frustrations regarding the lack of support for a critical app. Although not ideal, you should nevertheless be able to download and archive a copy of the Android app independently of Google's app store, and if need be, dedicate an older device to run it. I'm not too fond of products which rely on apps to provide critical functionality.
 
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aslan7

aslan7

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I had assumed that Exogal would have been good in view of the Wadia connection. Unfortunately I use an iPhone and iPad for the app which, when it was available, was excellent and very convenient. But I learned my lesson about apps and you are right.
 
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Hmmmm,

Looking at the top 1,000 things governments worry about...stupid things like water, food, shelter, economics, healthcare, roads, infrastructure....working my way down the list...., chemicals, electrical safety....down to diapers, make up safety.... standards for
mesurement.... Sorry, Audio quality and fraud does not make the list.

Audio is entertainment, style and flash and I don't see any regulations about how much a purse should cost, a limit on charges for a paint job on a car and that sort of thing. Fashion has an unlimited price ceiling and it has always been that way. Billions of people around the world don't have an issue with audio and governments can't legislate common sense. Now that everyone has access to the global information network, critical thought and taking the time to do research on anything makes any audio fraud more on you and less on them.

Most people won't spend $1,000 on a piece of wire even if it did do something! It's just audio, in the greater scheme of things a huge percentage of the population don't care. Do I personally care that it costs $30,000 for the annual service on a Ferrari? Not at all! Can't cry about getting robbed for something like that--it is a toy and toys cost money. Now if the Ferrari has flaws that will kill people, the government steps in just as the FCC stepped in almost 50 years ago when the audio companies just made up specifications. They also care of the devices burns down your house, electrocutes people or violates electrical, health and safety standards.

Audio stuff is viewed the same way as fashion, makeup, super cars and furniture--not required to live and as long as it is reasonably safe--claim whatever you like as it is a trinket. All sorts of garbage out there to blow money on, not a problem as long as it is optional for living your life. This happens across the board, you can build a house with surgical grade titanium screws if you like... as long as it meets building standards. I have the freedom to build a bird house out of 24mm baltic birch and covered with veneers that run $1,000 a sheet, use those surgical screws, have a custom titanium frame CNC'd if I like and put 80 coats of metalic paint to finish my bird house. With pride, I can blow $50,000 on a bird house and the government don't care.

There is a fool born every minute and two to take him. There is little excuse these days as anyone can fact check any advertisement. If they choose to spend massive amounts of money on BS because they were too lazy or ignorant to research their purchase--they have the freedom to do so. If you don't have the time to cook proper food, grabbing McD's is an option and it is up to you to know what you are eating. If you purchase all natural male enhancement because advertizers never lie--that is on you! The government did step in on them--they made medical claims and they have to back that up with proof. Still, some people think Vitamin C does something although it does not. It won't hurt you within sane limits but other vitamins will so the game continues. No big deal--it is on you to be a critical thinker eventually as "Not evaluated by the FDA" does mean something.

Look at the automotive hobby--that is full of fraud, scams and utter BS. No worries, anyone involved quickly learns that the color red does not make the car faster, you can't get 50% more power by an air filter swap and putting a tail pipe the size of your leg does not gain power. It does look cool if you are into that sort of thing though. As long as those three wings on the back of your front wheel drive car don't fly off, more power to you! All that audiophile BS is the same as all the teenagers doing stupid things to their cars, be it big tail pipes, wings to tires the thickness of rubber bands. Very easy to spend $50,000 on parts to make your car slower, handle worse and break down but you have the freedom to do so! Sure, they either eventually grow up, learn how the car actually works or continually dump money into whatever the latest fashion is--generally, by the time they hit 30 years old they should figure it out. They are doing the world a service, a warning that a noob is on the roads so avoid them and give them extra space as they might crash into things.

So think positive, if you ever run into a person that has giant cables, power cords, wire elevators and crystals in bowls--that is a natural warning to you that avoiding that person might be a good survival instinct. After all, if you wish to avoid voltage drops--get rid of the fuses and replace with copper or silver bars. Might be a good idea to avoid that line of thinking or lack there of. I don't specialize in deprogramming people in belief systems and life is to short to learn now. Just a with giant tail pipes, three wings, stickers, electric fans as super chargers and swapping out parts at random on cars ignoring engineering from automotive firms the same holds true for audio. Just smile an wave, be thankful those type of people will give you a visual indicator of their concept of reality and press on.

So relax, the people blowing massive money on gadgets that don't do anything is not a concern. Audio is not required to live, it is just a form of entertainment so is not regulated. If a person blows mega money on trinkets, that is capitalism. If they blow all that money instead of paying their bills, eating or feeding the kids...the banks and the government will step in. At least the snake oil companies pay taxes so... if it does no harm, so be it.
 
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aslan7

aslan7

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I think you have a very good perspective and are right. In a way it is funny. My multiple recall notices on the Volvo V60 seatbelt flaw is much more significant.
 

JeffS7444

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I had assumed that Exogal would have been good in view of the Wadia connection. Unfortunately I use an iPhone and iPad for the app which, when it was available, was excellent and very convenient. But I learned my lesson about apps and you are right.
I was under the impression that Wadia was another company with peculiar beliefs.

Reason I suggest dedicating an Android device as your remote is that Android allows you to bypass app stores and load your own apps from downloaded files, but Apple does not.
 

sergeauckland

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@RealityCheck18,

As much as I despise the snake-oil nature of so much sold today, whether fashion, cosmetics, cars or indeed audio equipment, I have to agree with you completely. In some respects it's a consequence of us having too much money and too much time in which to spend it, and it's also an indictment of our education system that doesn't train people in scepticism and science, but turns them into good little consumers that will believe all the blandishments of advertisers.

As much as I do despise it all, I don't see any short or even medium-term solution to overconsumption. For every Greta there will be a Kardashian, and they shout louder and more frequently.

S.
 

ahofer

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I'll chime in on the side of "protecting audio customers is not a high government priority". I find the many false claims of the industry offensive and morally reprehensible. But it doesn't rise to the level of government action, and more than fancy watches and cars.

Money disappears rapidly from those with little common sense. That's sort of a good thing up until they can't meet their basic needs.
 

devopsprodude

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This surprising sympathy for the manufacturer seems to be something peculiar to the audio industry. Had this guy been making washing machines and such appliances he would have been in big trouble.
To be fair, this phenomenon isn't specific to the audio industry. You will see similar behavior for any product specific group on Facebook and elsewhere. I also see this in Steam game community discussions.
 

ahofer

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To be fair, this phenomenon isn't specific to the audio industry. You will see similar behavior for any product specific group on Facebook and elsewhere. I also see this in Steam game community discussions.
and the so-called Apple "fanboys"
 

devopsprodude

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This experience led me to further speculate about why the audio industry isn't subject to more federal regulation, especially in the area of false and misleading advertising. For example, we have cable manufacturers making the most extravagant claims about their products that are pure, unprovable hype. I was shocked to see some of the reviews here that debunk unscientific claims by certain manufacturers. Even certain famous products are exposed to be substandard.
In the US, false advertising is generally poorly regulated, not just for consumer electronics, but for a wide range of products, like food items and others.
 

ta240

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....This experience led me to further speculate about why the audio industry isn't subject to more federal regulation, especially in the area of false and misleading advertising. For example, we have cable manufacturers making the most extravagant claims about their products that are pure, unprovable hype....

1. For the most part their customers are happy with the products and believe they are realizing the benefits of the hype.

2. It is hard to disprove unproveable hype. The wilder and less scientific the hype the more difficult it would be to prove in court that it didn't do it. If they were quoting numbers it would be easier to prove. Although, we've seen several companies quote sensitivity numbers that were way off and there are no repercussions for them; in fact their speakers keep getting recommended for low power applications regularly.

3. Several of them are getting smart enough now that they don't make the claims themselves on their sites. They put quotes from 'reviewers' making the claims; that way they aren't saying it, they are just saying that someone else said it about their product.

4. What RealityCheck18 said.
We think the government is right there waiting to protect everyone at every moment but they are often overwhelmed or undermotivated. Given the number of actually dangerous things that don't get handled, having the rich spend way to much on sub-standard audio components isn't on many people's lists of things our tax dollars should be correcting.

And I also agree with RealityCheck18, don't stress about it. I have no sorrow for the rich person burning their money. I do feel a bit bad for the person running up their credit cards trying to get the latest hyped product or add-on that will finally lift the veil on their sound system. And if saying "hey, that may not be all you think it is" can help save them from diving down that rabbit hole then great; otherwise it is their money (or debt).
 
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egellings

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I see the audiophile consumer group as good pickin's for quack (alt. medicine is another example) products because differences between cables, let's say, are barely, if at all perceptible, and the tinier the differences are between competing products, the more hype needs to be used to amplify the differences, which should make the "better" one stand out more. The products is bought based on claims rather than perceived performance.
 

egellings

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Some audiophools may believe in a certain type of snake lube, and even if you demonstrate the uselessness of it to them, they will not change their minds. Belief vs. knowledge, I 'spoze. You can easily edit knowledge found to be wrong; belief, not so much. Religions rely on that.
 
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aslan7

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The reviewers who feed into all this are really funny. "As the power cables broke in after 100 hours I heard noticeable differences in the midrange..."
 
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aslan7

aslan7

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I was under the impression that Wadia was another company with peculiar beliefs.

Reason I suggest dedicating an Android device as your remote is that Android allows you to bypass app stores and load your own apps from downloaded files, but Apple does not.

I didn't know that so will try it out. Thanks
 

Mnyb

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My 2c .

1) It's kinda sad in societies with a very unequal school system if daddy gives you college found to Audioquest .
People with idiotic economical behavior have effects on all people close to them. I is not as simple that you can hurt only yourself in isolation.
Its like a gambling addict or alcoholic .

2) The company in question seems like dead in the water anyway just suck it up and move on ? They severely underestimated what software driven products are really about and how to maintain them and what it costs.
Hardware driven outfits dipping their toes into software do that all to often :) It cant be more than a couple of thousand people in total buying this kind of unknown boutique DAC that seems a bit pricey and unremarkable to me ?

Then try to amortize continuous app support and development for a small user base as long as the products technical life span ?
I don't think a free app is viable for a small product line ? yearly fee or subscription ? otherwise its just a never ending cost you cant possibly predict .

For a large product line , not a problem if Sony sells something by the millions of units , they sure can hire some geek to maintain the included app for a decade or so and it wont be much for each customer ?

And even the really big audio companies are really careful they build in some connectivity and hope some one else does the app economy .
Such a thing as spotify connect must be a relief to some brands ?
 
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aslan7

aslan7

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Mynb thanks for the insights and good advice. You are right about their being a boutique company. By their own admission they didn’t sell even a thousand units. Around 2015 they got great reviews and seemed like something special. I don’t have technological knowledge like people here so was caught. The apps were great while they lasted. So yes, I have learned my lesson and am selling out and moving on. The RME kills this thing so in the end all is well.
 

Mnyb

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Mynb thanks for the insights and good advice. You are right about their being a boutique company. By their own admission they didn’t sell even a thousand units. Around 2015 they got great reviews and seemed like something special. I don’t have technological knowledge like people here so was caught. The apps were great while they lasted. So yes, I have learned my lesson and am selling out and moving on. The RME kills this thing so in the end all is well.

The DAC part of the DAC products its mostly a commodity nowadays . So the RME seems to be the way to go it offers tons of functionality at the same time as good performance that sets it apart and support and good reputation.
It's all in the implementation . Notice that RME is not even using the top of the line chips from ESS or AKM but still wrangles top performance out of it :)
 
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aslan7

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I listen to classical and jazz where there is a big chronological span between historical and modern performances. The RME really exposes early recording insufficiency where the Exogal did not and glossed over everything. If something was recorded in 1958 you are going to hear it immediately. I am quite pleased with it.
 
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